In the second half of the 19th century and well into the 20th, wealthy and outdoorsy residents of the northeast often spent their summers “roughing it” in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, and Guggenheims all spent summers at their camps around Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, Lake Mohegan and many more. In their cases, of course, roughing it involved schlepping scores of luggage and shacking up in gigantic “rustic” lodges staffed by dozens of servants. The fanciful log mansions, crafted of native timber and stone, exemplified the romantic 19th-century notion of getting back to nature, but in great comfort, style and luxury.
One of the best known camps of the era, which is now a hotel, was The Point at Saranac Lake. Built by William Avery Rockefeller II a century ago, that camp cum hotel inspired the construction of this bespoke compound that’s located a little farther south of the Adirondacks, in the Catskills. Just minutes away from the artsy hamlet of Woodstock, in the wee hamlet of Bearsville, the country estate is set high on Hutchin Hill. And at nearly 2,000 feet above sea level, the views are astounding. It’s available for $4.95 million via Andrew Gates at Houlihan Lawrence.
Set on 71.5 acres of land, complete privacy is assured for the lucky new owners. The main house includes a great room with a massive stone fireplace, which are de rigueur for great Adirondack camps, as well as a large, handsome top-of-the-line kitchen that includes a deluxe pantry and prep kitchen. There is also an enclosed dining porch, perfect for buggy summer nights, as well as a spacious first-floor master suite with a fantastic bathroom and its own porch. There are two more en-suite guest bathrooms on the first floor. In all, the property offers seven bedrooms, six bathrooms and one powder room, set in 5,590 square feet.
Outside is one feature not always seen in the great camps: a fantastic in-ground swimming pool, along with plenty of patio space for dining and barbecuing. There’s also a private pond and lots of wooded areas in to which to get lost and commune with nature. Nearby, the so-called Playhouse awaits visitors. It too offers a stone fireplace, plus an office for when duty calls, a restaurant-quality bar, and two more en-suite bedrooms. Still not enough space? The property includes an additional building site for future expansion.
In the spirit of the great camps, but much closer to Manhattan, this must be one of the most scenic estates in the Catskills.